In my previous post about the QVMAG at Inveresk I mentioned that we visited a couple of other museums in the area. One was the Launceston Tramway Museum
The museum is located in the Inveresk Precinct just a few steps away from the QVMAG so it is easy to do both in the same visit if you wish. The Museum is run by a non profit organisation and staffed by volunteers. The three that we met during our visit were all friendly and enthusiastic about their work there. It is a small museum but packs a lot of information inside it and is well worth the admission fee.
The Launceston tram system only operated for a bit over forty years. It opened in 1911 and closed in December of 1952 when the trams were briefly replaced with trolley buses. Twenty nine trams were built in Launceston over a period of twenty years and of those, eight are in the museum. One, number 29, is restored and in runs on a short section of track from the old railway station to the site of the old railway roundhouse and turntable next to Aurora Stadium.
When the trams were retired they were available for sale by tender. The members of the museum have researched what happened to each one and there is a display showing the second career of each tram with its new owners. This was probably my favourite part and must have taken some excellent detective work.
As well as trams both restored and unrestored there is good use made of audio visuals to describe life on the trams. It certainly was not easy being a tram conductor. If you were so unfortunate as to be short when the tickets were counted you would have to make up the money from your own pay. Women did not work on the Launceston trams during war time as they did in Hobart as the management of the day said that they could not afford to build the facilities ladies would require.
The tram ride is well worth doing. We boarded outside the museum entrance next to The Blue Bar Cafe and rode up to where the old railway roundhouse once stood behind QVMAG and Aurora Stadium. Then we rode back as far as the old Launceston Station and then back to the museum entrance. The usual practice is to do the trip twice, the second time with a soundtrack of voices and other sounds from the past. However on the afternoon we travelled they didn’t do this. I didn’t mind as we chatted to the volunteers and enjoyed the clickety clack of the tram. Our volunteer conductor told us that an extension of the tram line is planned to nearby Lindsay St and Kings Wharf where there is a cafe. When that is complete they will be able to offer a much longer ride. I am certainly looking forward to that!
The Launceston Tramway Museum is open:
MAY TO OCTOBER – 10.00am to 4.00pm, four days a week. Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
NOVEMBER TO APRIL – 10.00am to 4.00pm, five days a week. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Admission to the museum is $10 for adults, $8 for concession holders and $5 for children. There is also a $25 family ticket
This does not include the price of the tram ride which seems to be variable during winter. We were charged $5 each but in summer I think it is $10 and when the extension is completed will probably be a little more. Check their website for up to date information on this. http://www.ltms.org.au/LTMS/Home.html
National Automobile Museum of Tasmania
The other museum we visited was the National Automobile Museum which is located on the fringe of Launceston’s City Park. This is another nicely arranged museum with a static display of cars and motorcycles and changing exhibitions to feature different marques. On our visit there was a display of Rover’s.
We enjoyed the display of muscle cars from the 70s although as both Naomi and I commented it’s becoming a regular occurrence for us to see things that are familiar to us from our youth in museums!
The Dick Johnson race car brought back some memories too.
I also liked the cute little Messerschmitt car and who could resist a mini MG?
If you would like to visit the museum it is open every day except Christmas Day between 9am-5pm (10am-4pm in winter) at the corner of Willis and Cimitiere Streets, Launceston.
- Adults $11.75
- Seniors $9.00
- Children Under 16 $6.50
- Family $30.00
- Annual Admission Pass $29.50
Their website is worth checking out too as it has plenty of photos from previous exhibitions. http://www.namt.com.au/